March 24, 2018 11:13 PM
Top-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall punctuated its season with a heart-stopping 79-78 victory over defending champion Apple Valley in the Class AAAA championship game Saturday, March 24 at Target Center.
The Raiders (30-2) captured their first state championship in 25 years when senior center Daniel Oturu, a University of Minnesota recruit, took an alley-oop pass from teammate Ryan Larson, a senior guard, and slammed the ball through the basket with 0.5 seconds remaining in regulation.
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On the designed play that the Raiders had used numerous times throughout the season, Larson had the option of driving through the lane and taking the ball to the basket on his own. Instead, Larson noticed Oturu in perfect position in the lane and sent a high, arching pass toward him.
Cretin-Derham Hall’s bench erupted with glee and the Target Center crowd assumed the game was over. But Apple Valley still had a possession, which resulted in a long-desperation attempt by Eagles senior point guard Tre Jones falling short.
Oturu, who sat more then five minutes in the second half after committing his fourth foul, returned to the game with 4:57 left when the game turned to intense possessions on each end of the court. He finished with 17 points, six rebounds, five assists and six blocks. Oturu finished his career as Cretin-Derham Hall’s all-time scoring leader with 2,004 points.
Junior guard Jaeden King led the Raiders with 19 points and five rebounds. Senior forward Jacob Prince had 16 points, including a handful of baskets on power layups in the second half.
It was Cretin-Derham Hall’s second victory during the 2017-18 season over Apple Valley, the No. 2 seed in the Class AAAA tournament field. The other came in an 80-69 victory on Dec. 30 during the holiday break.
Apple Valley (27-5) looked like it might be on the verge of a successful state championship title defense when senior guard Zach Korba made a put back to give the Eagles a 78-77 lead with six seconds remaining in regulation time. Jones, a Duke University recruit, finished with 35 points, six rebounds, five assists and a steal. Senior guard Luke Martens added 17.
Apple Valley edged to a 41-40 lead at the half when Jones made the first of two awarded free throws after Oturu was called for a technical for pushing Jones out of bounds. Jones and Martens had 15 points each in an exhilarating first half that had the score tied eight times and just four lead changes.
Oturu led the Raiders with 13 points, five rebounds and two blocks during the first half. Senior forward Sy Chatman junior guard Jaeden King had 10 points each.
Created: March 24, 2018 11:13 PM
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